Le Rêve - Dreams & Lavender Honey Icecream

>> Sunday, July 10, 2011

Long before I fell in love with baking and French pastries, I was very much into interior decorating. My childhood home was a single-storey, rather tiny house and I would have these grandiose plans


BBQ Millefeuille

>> Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I've had visions for a BBQ millefeuille for quite a while now. It all started about a year ago when I received an email from the lovely Meg Zimbeck of Paris By Mouth, an excellent resource for great eats and fine wines in Paris. They were my go-to site when I first moved to Paris to attend pastry school last summer. I had submitted my name to


I'd do it all over again....

>> Wednesday, May 18, 2011

They say that when you truly love what you do, you never work a day in your life. These past couple months have given me a first-hand experience at that - going to bed every night excited about the next day and waking up every morning with such eager anticipation of what each day had to offer, learning the ropes of a new trade, facing the fears and uncertainties of the unknown while at the same time, the exhilaration of new hopes and possibilities. Within a month, we've gone from starting a business from


My Tropical Haven

>> Sunday, March 6, 2011

After spending this past Christmas holiday in Singapore, D and I hopped on a short 1+ hour flight to another island up north in Malaysia: the island of Penang, the Pearl of the Orient where I had lived for most part of my life.

The Betelnut (Pinang) tree from which the island derived her name
Penang is very similar to Singapore yet so different in many ways. Both islands were once British colonies with strategic geographic locations that made them important trading posts and later, manufacturing hubs for high tech industries (Penang has been dubbed the Silicon Valley of the East). As a result, both islands have undergone massive commercialization. Singapore became a metropolitan state: ultra modern, extremely efficient, ever so clean,

uber chic, always staying current so much so that at times, it feels as though you were walking down the fashionable streets of Paris or Amsterdam or Stockholm; as long as it's hip and "in", you will find it on the tiny island of Singapore.
Walking down the streets of Penang, on the other hand, feels like, well.....feels just like good old Penang.
It's not that there hasn't been much progress in Penang. On the contrary, strong economic growth  has led to so much new developments (I didn't even know my way around anymore), massive modernization projects
the tiny island welcomes Hard Rock Hotel and the Beatles.....
and copious constructions of luxury accommodations - you can buy a piece of your own tropical paradise for a little over USD 2 million - yet through it all, there's still such a down-to-earth, evocative and nostalgic vibe prevailing on this little enclave.

This last trip home was a great time of reconnecting with family, revisiting the familiar hangout joints from my childhood and adoloscence, and reacquanting with other not-so-familiar-anymore local areas. Oddly, it was as though I left Penang as a local but returned as a tourist. We spent the weekend at a beach resort on the island,
 taking time to visit the beaches and tourist attractions on the island:
The Pagoda (Kek Lok Si Temple)
One of the most notable trip was our visit to the tropical fruit farm, located in the northern, relatively remote part of the island. In less than 30 minutes, we went from the hustling, sunny beachfront to the quieter, cooler elevation that offered breathtaking views of the island's lush tropical greeneries.
The farm boasted well over 250+ species of tropical fruits. Much to my disappointment, it wasn't the season for popular fruits like the durians
By the way, this photo of the Durian, King of Fruits was taken in a road-side fruit stand enroute to the hilltop tropical farm
nor was it the season for my tropical favorites, the rambutans or mangosteens, but the disappointment soon turned to thrill as we traversed the 25+ acre grounds, exploring, examining, learning more about the exotic fruits.

A tart but extremely refreshing Brazilian berry (acerola)
The source of your morning beverage: coffee and pineapple plants
 More exotic fruits: Jackfruit and Cherimoya

Have you ever come across this fruit?
Pitaya or more commonly known as the Dragon Fruit, derived its name from the scaly skin of the fruit. This rather bizarre-looking fruit originated from South America but is mostly cultivated in South-east Asian countries today. Guess whether the dragon fruit grows on trees or vines?
Surprise, surprise. It's actually the fruit of a cactus plant!
Cut open the fruit and you'll find dense, white flesh (or red or yellow, depending on the species) with texture akin to that of Kiwi fruits, albeit not as flavorful yet loaded with vitamins and minerals nonetheless. This fruit is supposedly very effective in lowering cholesterols and rumor has it that it accelerates hair growth as well.  Move over, hair transplant surgeons!
After a highly satisfying one-hour tour around the farm, it was time to satiate our appetites. The tour included a  buffet of tropical fruits and a tropical juice mixture of choice per person. 
We were treated to a wonderful myriad of selection: whole coconut (what's missing was the little parasols / umbrellas!) and starfruits
pink guava 
Not a bad deal for a mere RM 28 (~ USD 9). In fact, that's quite a steal as I can't think of any place here where we can get exotic luscious fruits for that price, not to mention all the learning that comes with the experience.

Yet another fun fact: did you know that  Passionfruits do not grow on trees but on vines?
Did you also know that its name "passion" has nothing to do with procreation or intimacy but more associated to religion? Well, I certainly didn't.
It's said that the twelve petals of the passiflora (passion flower) stand for the 12 Apostles.
 As you carefully peel back the petals, the stamens resemble a cross.
Passionfruit puree is a highly common ingredient in our advanced pastry course and it was certainly gratifying for me to see, touch and feel the fruit still hanging on the vines and to learn so much more about its origins
Passionfruits were so cheap and in such abundance there that I had at least 2-3 every single day during my stay in Penang. It's been almost couple months since I've been back, I've searched so many places but can't seem to find imported fresh passionfruits to satisfy that craving (if anyone knows where to get some, let me know). In the meantime, I guess this passionfruit-mango entremet would just have to do. 


And the winner is..........

Good lazy Sunday afternoon to all! I'm pleased to announce that after a good nap and a great afternoon snack (a glorious piece of this), I've finally found the time to pick the winner of the USD 65 CSN giveaway.  I wished I could give a prize to everyone who had left a comment but alas, we only have one coupon this time so based on the number of eligible entries, congratulations to commentor #8, M!

True Random Number Generator  8Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Thanks for your patience and thank you all for the participation!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP